Can a video game rejuvenate an elderly brain?
Although there are a lot of video games out there that claim to help your brain, most have not been evaluated for this purpose. A new study at UCSF finds that playing a brain training game for one month can rejuvenate cognitive control for people in their 60s, 70s and 80s.
Neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley worked with video game developers to create NeuroRacer, a game which has users perform two task simultaneously (using a joystick to navigate a car and hitting a button whenever the player sees a particular road sign).
After training, their multitasking ability improved beyond the levels of 20-year-olds. They also got better at remembering information and paying attention.
As people get older, they tend to adopt “more conservative strategies” when it comes to evaluating information and taking action (according to David Meyer, University of Michigan). But they haven’t necessarily lost the ability to act quickly: the video game may help in part because it simply encourages older people to adopt a less conservative strategy.
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